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Connecting the World Through Google Project Loon

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In a world where it seems like everyone’s online all the time–whether that’s via smartphone, laptop, tablet, desktop, or even via a car–did you know that two-thirds of the world’s population doesn’t yet have Internet access? In our hyper-connected world it seems impossible, but in many rural and developing areas, the Internet hasn’t found a home.


While this two-thirds lives without Internet, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t benefit from having it. Connecting underprivileged parts of the world would allow for access to education, faster response times during natural disasters and better access to outside resources and key information.

A major reason for the disconnect is the lack of on-the-ground infrastructure required to create and sustain internet access. How then, can we get 66% of the world online?

Enter Google Project Loon.

Project Loon is an internet system designed to bring internet to the disconnected areas through a network of helium balloons. These balloons contain LTE-connection ports and can beam internet down to the earth about 40 km in diameter. By partnering with telecommunications companies, people in the ‘balloon zone’ with LTE-enabled devices can connect to the internet.


Project Loon balloons also float 20 km above the earth in the stratosphere. Floating in the stratosphere is an intentional design of the system. Because the stratosphere is, well, stratified, it’s comprised of many layers. Wind travels in a different direction in each layer, and through a remote controlled system, Project Loon balloons can drop or rise to the appropriate layer to blow in the direction where internet is needed.

In addition to ensuring constant connectivity, Google also needs to ensure the balloons stay afloat. To track helium usage, they turned to the Digi TransPort ®  WR11. The wireless router allows Google to monitor the helium tanks and know when to bring a balloon back down to earth for refueling. It’s a system to provide connection that’s connected.

With this combination of keeping afloat and providing remote access to more than half the world, Google’s goal is to leave no person without the ability to access key information and in a position to receive help when situations arise.

With a connected world being our mission, we’re proud to be a part of Google Loon.

Digi Delivers Live View of Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

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Bald Eagles have returned to Pittsburgh after a long absence. Their return has received a large amount of attention as this is seen as a sign of the improved environment in the Pittsburgh area. The nest of the once endangered raptors sits on a steep bluff above the Monongahela River in Hays near Pittsburgh’s Southside.  PixController and the Pennsylvania Game Commission are streaming live video, so you can watch the eaglets grow up every day and at any hour. They even received a feature on NBC Nightly News, which you can watch below.

Digi teamed up with PixController to create a wireless solution that provides a 24-hour feed of the Hays Eagles. A Digi TransPort WR21 connected to Verizon’s 4G LTE network streams live audio and video to the organizations website, so thousands can check in and see what the eaglets are up to at anytime. The stream has already accumulated over one million views!

The Eagles hatched in early April and they’re growing quickly, so make sure you check out the live stream before they fly away. Click here to watch the live feed.

Digi helped build a similar solution for the Wildlife Research Institute to aid their study of bear hibernation. Read more about that project here.

Digi Enables almerys’ Critical Cardiology Telehealth Application in France (M2M Now Magazine Case Study)

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“We wanted to be up and running quickly and Digi provided us with the rapid development environment we needed. Its solutions were easily integrated into our IT platform. The solution was ready in less than two months, and enabled us to get to the market quickly.” – Robert Boualit, health services director at almerys

Heart failure is the leading cause of emergency hospitalization in patients over 60 years old. For those suffering from heart disease, changes in body weight are a crucial indicator of their health and response to treatment. Remote monitoring for patient weight “warning signs” can avert emergency hospitalization, improves the health of patients and has massive cost-saving implications for health care systems worldwide.

Digi and almerys, a subsidiary of Orange Business Services, have helped develop and implement a cardiology telehealth pilot project in the Auvergne region of France. The Cardiauvergne project, which utilizes Digi’s ConnectPort® X3, Digi TransPort® 41 and Device Cloud by Etherios™, performs in-home monitoring to collect a patient’s weight data daily, and transfers it quickly and securely to a medical co-ordination unit where medical decisions are made.

Since the Cardiauvergne project began in September 2011, 315 patients have been monitored and 600 health crises have been averted. This is just one example of how Digi is improving patient care by connecting critical devices – see our Medical Brochure to learn more about how Digi and Etherios are expanding the mobility and frequency of patient health care.

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